I thought a great deal about the direction businesses in America are headed towards in the 21st century and to what extent interaction design will have in that future. I framed this in the context of my industry, fashion, and the sort of organic metamorphosis it has from season to season.
Outsourcing to countries for manufacturing has become the status quo for many, and American business owners and innovators are left with wrestling with retaining consumer loyalty and quality in lieu of globalization’s opportunity for cheaper production. The question for fashion designers is how do we convince the population to continue to buy and maintain a creative, yet marketable, competitively priced product? This is where I see interactive design(ers), coming in.
The interaction happening within my industry (whether it be between designers, buyers, merchandisers, editors, retailers, or consumers) will be what continues to drive it forward. Making sure the user experience is always associated with a positive connotation will be what separates those who will survive from those who won’t.
For fashion, the information is always the same: clothing. However, it’s the presentation where innovation can differentiate competitors from one another. I see interactive designers having a distinct role in the presentation of this information. You see fashion designers creating a whole lifestyle for the consumer from clothing and shoes to linens and custom automobile upholstery. It isn’t JUST about the clothing anymore. It is about bringing a consumer into the brand’s world, and having them understand, appreciate, and want to be a part of it.
I believe interaction design is inescapable for ANY designer. In fashion, from the methods through which a designer communicates to an overseas manufacturer to the consumer’s experience when shopping for fashion, there are so many opportunities to engage with users through photography, the internet, social networking, magazines, celebrities, and commercials. In this “information age” of technology, where transparency is “in vogue”, more information for the consumer is beneficial. Controlling what that information is, its interpretation, and the dialogue the consumer has with that information will be the direction in which I see interaction design headed; an encapsulating experience for the consumer from proposition, to prototype, to product, to purchase.